Face it, freshman year in high school can be challenging.  There are new faces, a new schedule and the pressure of going from the top of the heap (in 8th grade) to being the lowly freshman.  But freshman year is an important building block on the road to college.  An unsuccessful freshman year can hurt a student’s GPA and more importantly, shatter his or her confidence.  At the halfway point in freshman year, let’s suggest a few New Year’s Resolutions for freshmen to accomplish this year:

Become a Part of Your School

Become engaged in your school.  Join a club, a sport or other activity that will give you a chance to develop your leadership, creativity and organizational skills.  All those are important skills to have in college (and in life).  High school is a great time to learn these skills and hone them.

Work on Your Grades

Freshman year grades are one-fourth of your high school GPA, but one-third of the GPA you will submit to colleges when you apply.  If you’ve had a difficult first semester or trimester, now is the time to get help.  If you are struggling, identify the issue.  It may be reading, math, or a specific other class, but find a tutor or seek help from a teacher.  Floundering through freshman year doesn’t bode well for sophomore year.  Many classes build on what was learned previously, so determine what you have struggled with and master it.

Identify Your Interests

Think about the classes you’ve taken so far and give thought to what you sign up to take next year.  What classes have you most enjoyed?  Are there others you’re interested in but haven’t had a chance to take yet?  Many colleges ultimately end up discounting weighted classes (and looking at an unweighted GPA).  Therefore, don’t be deterred from taking a course in something you’re truly interested in even if it isn’t an Honors or AP class.

Improve Your Time Management Skills

In high school, students must work more independently and manage their time efficiently.  If time management hasn’t been your forte, (read between the lines:  if you are a big league procrastinator), then figure out a system that will work for you.  Many students need an assignment notebook or electronic scheduling tool.  These tools map out time for homework, studying and activities.  The attached article has great suggestions for managing time—a skill that if learned in high school, will be used for life.  As good as these suggestions are, they depend on one important factor:  the student’s willingness to show self-discipline.

Bottom Line

As the new year begins, consider these New Year’s resolutions for freshmen and embrace your freshman year!  View it as the start of a great high school experience and a building block towards a successful entrance into college.

As noted above, if you are struggling freshman year, now is the time to get help.  Knowledge Edge can help you reach grade level in reading and math.  We can also provide homework help for specific classes and provide help with study skills to help students succeed independently.   Check out the programs on our website at www.knowledge-edge.net or give us a call at 262-238-8867.